2014-15 Course

Last update (February 03, 2015): progam and lecture slides, course schedule


  • course ended on February 03, 2015
  • next and last lecture: February 03, 2015 (Tuesday), 2pm
  • lectures also on (Tuesday) January 20, January 27 and February 03, 2015
  • no lecture on : November 18
  • the course will start on November 04, 2014, 2:00 PM, Room 0M043
  • 2014.10.09 : course schedule is now available

Last update : November 05, 2014 2014 course web page update'''


All the interested students are kindly requested to send an e-mail to


bquote Last update (January 20, 2013): 2013 course web page created Last update (March 23, 2012): progam and lecture slides


This course aims to give an overview of the basic properties and applications of nanostructured materials. The course can be schematically divided into two parts. The first part focuses on the most recent achievements of nanotechnology and related phenomenology. The main observed phenomena occurring at the nanoscale (electronic, optical and transport properties) are described, with a focus on applications (optoelectronics, single electron transistors, self-powered devices, nanomedicine and many others). Also, a short history of nanotechnology and its development is presented.
The second part is focused on the interpretation and understanding of the observed properties in terms of basic concepts, such as electron and hole quantum confinement, effects induced by the system size and dimensionality, and so on. The main theoretical models needed to describe the optical, electronic and transport properties in nanostructured materials will be analysed. The starting point will be recent seminal experiments showing the ability of controlling and tuning the materials structure and electronic properties with atomic resolution (truly one-dimensional metallic wires, two-dimensional systems and graphene, single-electron transport, etc.).

Course outline

- nanotechnology and its connection with microelectronics
- synthesis techniques (very short overview)
- new instruments and spectrosopies: STM and AFM
- applications (special topics: nanopiezotronics, nanomedicine, nanoplasmonics)

Nanostructures: from zero- to two-dimensional systems:
- atomic nanoclusters: physical and structural properties
- quantum dots or nanocrystals: electronic properties and devices (quantum dot lasers, single-electron transistor)
- nanostructured carbon: nanotubes, fullerenes, graphene

Optical and electronic properties:
- nanocrystals, nanowires, quantum wells
- elementary excitations in solids
- the quantum confinement and its effects on the optical properties
- transport in nanostructures

The students can give indication for topics of their interest that could be part of the program of the course. Please email me for any suggestion.

Download the course worksheet here.

Course scheduling

from: November 04, 2014 to: February 03, 2015

Tuesday : 14:00 - 17:00

Room: 0M03, Dept. of Physical Sciences, M.S. Angelo


  • Lecture 1 - November 04, 2014 (2pm-5pm)
    Introduction to nanotechnology. Definition and history. A short tour in the nanoworld. Fabrication techniques.
  • Lecture 2 - November 11, 2014 (2pm-5pm)
    Introduction to nanotechnology. A driving force: microelectronics. Applications. Nanowire sensors. Nanoscale thermometer. Nanostructures of functional oxides. Nanopiezotronics. Nanoplasmonics and metal nanoparticles.
  • Lecture 3 - November 25, 2014 (10am-1pm)
    Spectroscopy and microscopy at the nanoscale. Scanning tunneling microscope. Scanning tunneling spectroscopy. Atomic manipulation using STM.
  • Lecture 4 - December 2, 2014 (2pm-5pm)
    Atomic force microscopy.
    Quantum states in 1D atomic chains. Tight binding: from atoms to crystals.
  • Lecture 5 - December 09, 2014 (2pm-5pm)
    Quantum states in 1D atomic chains. Tight binding: from atoms to crystals. Finite chain.
  • Lecture 6 - January 20, 2015
    Quantum states in 1D atomic chains. Tight binding: from atoms to crystals. Finite chain.
    Band structure engineering: Au on Teach/NiAl(100). Band structure engineering: Cu on Cu(111).
    Quantum confinement. Idealized quantum wells, wires, dots. Density of states.
  • Lecture 7 - January 27, 2015 (2pm-5pm)
    Quantum confinement. Elementary excitations and quantum confinement. Optical properties of nanocrystals. Quantum dot lasers.
    From atoms to crystals: nanoclusters and nanocrystals. Nanoclusters. Cluster fabrication.
  • Lecture 8 - February 03, 2015 (2pm-5pm)
    From atoms to crystals: nanoclusters and nanocrystals. Properties vs size: binding energy, ionization potential, shells, melting point. Theoretical approaches.
    Single electron transport: an experiment. Constant-interaction model. Coulomb blockade and addition energy. Excitation spectrum. Artificial atoms as new building blocks.

Transport in nanostructures. An atomistic view of quantum conductance. Energy level diagram: source, drain channel gate, electrochemical potential. What makes electrons to flow? Transport in nanostructures. The quantum of conductance. Transport in one-dimensional systems.
Single electron transport: an experiment. Constant-interaction model. Coulomb blockade and addition energy. Nanostructured carbon. From graphene to C nanotubes. Synthesis techniques. Applications. Electronic properties: hybridization, band structure. Two-dimensional carbon: graphene.

Final examination
Final examination relies on a written essay, workgroups of at most three people are allowed. The essay focus should concern the main course topics (nanostructure applications, optical/transport/mechanical/... properties, etc.) or others strictly connected with nanotechnology. Also focus on student's own research activity is welcome, provided that the essay is not a report of measurements and/or calculations, but rather a focus on a field connected with the research activity.

Download lecture slides

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